The Nittany Notebook

Though Penn State got off to a 1-0 start, the Nittany Nation is full of questions: Why was Calvin Lowry returning punts? How is Jimmy Shaw? What is the situation with Austin Scott? Here are some behind-the-scenes answers to many questions PSU fans are asking.

How is Jimmy Shaw?

As FOS reported during the USF game, Jimmy Shaw was knocked out of action during the first half with an injury and spent that time on the sideline in street clothes and on crutches.

He is expected to be out of the lineup for about two to three weeks with a knee sprain, "similar to what Rodney Kinlaw and Ross Muir suffered — nothing too major." Shaw is not practicing per se, however he was spending time on the exercise bike during practice on Monday to give his knee a minor workout.

Why was Calvin Lowry returning punts against USF?

Although Calvin Lowry did not see action as a punt-returner in the early portion of preseason practice. He ended up back in his old role against the Bulls.

The issue stems from Derrick Williams "having some issues fielding balls." Williams was taking his eyes off of the ball at time to identify open lanes in the coverage, which was causing issues on his fielding skills. He will continue to practice punts this week in order to give him some time to improve.

Where is E.Z. Smith practicing now?

E.Z. Smith will see more reps with the second team this week at center. Joe Paterno has promoted him from the scout team in practice this week. He will split reps with A.Q. Shipley, who will also see share some first-team reps with Lance Antolick.

Why didn't Austin Scott play more?

During the team's most recent squad meeting after the USF game, Paterno stated he intends to play Austin Scott more in upcoming games. He feels it was his fault Scott did not see more action against USF.

What were Pateno's feelings on the game?

Paterno was very upset with the "older guys' play," and said if "they don't buckle down and get it done" there will be a lot of oportunities on the team opening up. He specifically pointed to Isaac Smolko in the squad meeting, saying he was not pleased with Smolko's blocking and blamed the team's first fumble on him. He was particularly upset at Smolko for not setting blocks and also "playing lazy" on some of his crossing routes.

Although he was pleased with his overall play, Paterno was not pleased with the fact that Alan Zemaitis threw the ball on the ground after his interception for a touchdown. He said he expects every player to show respect to the officials and hand them the ball.

What is Dan Connor's situation?

As of yesterday's practice Connor continues to see his time with the scout team. What may be interesting to fans is that he saw reps at fullback yesterday and "was scary at the spot."

In one drill he went one-on-one with Paul Cronin and "planted him" on the ground. "It was a bad collision," one observer said.

Incidently, this move does not constitute a shift permanent shift to offense for Connor. Connor is on the scout team, which simulates the opposing squad. The Bearcats use the fullback position quite a bit out of the I-formation with Dwight Stargill and Evan Sparks. Connor is playing the role of these guys to test the first and second team defenses and is giving them quite a test in the process.

Was there a fight on the sidelines during the game?

Several fans have written us about rumblings of a "scuffle between Bill Kenney and Levi Brown on the sidelines," as one poster out it.

After Brown's third false start he was incredibly upset and came off the field in a huff. He took off his helmet and slammed it on the ground, coupled with a few choice words and "threw some shoulders into some guys to get through the group of players."

Kenney saw this and got in his face and said (paraphrasing) "Calm down! You need to focus and get your head in this game."

So, while it was a face-to-face situation, it was not a "fight" or "staredown."


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